Today the Trump administration issued new regulations prohibiting future cruises to Cuba. Cruises have become the most popular way for Americans to experience and explore Cuba. Over 30,000 more passengers visit Cuba by a cruise ship than by air. ​The State Department announced that “going forward, the United States will prohibit US travelers from going to Cuba under the previous ‘group people-to-people educational’ travel authorization. In addition, the United States will no longer permit visits to Cuba via passenger and recreational vessels, including cruise ships and yachts, and private and corporate aircraft.”

No New Cruises to Cuba

Under the new regulations, cruise lines will not be able to schedule any new cruises to Cuba unless they receive a specific license. While it is clear that no new cruises can be scheduled from a US port to visit Cuba, it is not clear what happens to cruises already scheduled. The administration issued clarification later this morning stating “travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight, reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019.” Under this guidance, any passenger who has made a deposit on a cruise would be allowed to travel.

However, if cruise lines are not allowed to accept additional U.S. passengers after June 5, 2019,  on already scheduled cruises, the cruise line may be forced to cancel those cruises due to lack of sufficient passengers to make it financially viable to sail. No cruise line has made any statement yet. They all are reviewing the new regulations, attempting to get clarification from the administration,  and consulting with their attorneys.

We will update this article as new information is available.

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Abercrombie Kent

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